Author Archive for: jentwistle


Returning to Work after Illness or Injury: OT Can Help

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

In 2011, Statistics Canada reported that 5.9% of full-time employees were absent from work due to illness or disability. The costs associated with workplace injuries are vast.  Studies have shown that the duration of work disability, as well as costs, are significantly reduced when the workplace has contact with a health care provider coordinating return to work interventions. In fact, well-designed return to work programs are now recognized as the best practice to reduce costs associated with worker’s compensation.

Occupational therapy is a cost-effective strategy to accelerate the client’s recovery and rate of returning to work. With an effective return to work plan coordinated by an occupational therapist, injured or ill employees can recover quicker and return to work faster, significantly reducing employer costs associated with workplace injuries.

In the following video from our OT-V series, we will discuss how occupational therapists can help to support the critical transition back to the workplace following an interruption of work duties due to physical or mental health issues.

For more information on promoting employee wellness in the workplace visit our Healthy Workplace blog page.


Rowan’s Law: New Legislation to Help Protect Young Athletes

Rowan Stringer was an avid rugby player who died in 2013 at the young age of 17.  Rowan’s death maybe have been prevented had undiagnosed concussions been recognized and strict policies been followed, however, at that time none were in place.  Since Rowan’s death, her parents have worked tirelessly to create change that can save the lives of others.  Rowan’s Law, a new legislation that will provide education to athletes, parents and coaches, requires the removal of an athlete from a game if a concussion is suspected, and ensures no athlete can return to the sport until medically cleared to do so. 

Learn more about the new law, Rowan, and her family’s dedication to seeing this new legislation get passed in the following from the Globe and Mail. 

The Globe and Mail:  Rowan’s law: How a teenager’s concussion-related death will help save lives


O-Tip of the Week: Out with the Old

Our O-Tip of the week series we will be providing valuable “OT-Approved Life Hacks” to provide you with simple and helpful solutions for living. 

Often the focus of occupational therapy becomes helping people to organize their activities, their stuff or their time.  So, for the month of April, our series will be all about organization.

It’s hard to stay organized when you simply have too much stuff!  Here are some great tips to help you to be out with the old on a regular basis:

  1.       Say yes:  when you get a call from an organization doing a pick up of used clothing and household items, always say yes.  This will force you to go through a closet or drawer and donate items you no longer need.
  2.       One in one out rule:   this should apply to both kids and adults!  For kids, with each new toy or book they receive have them select an old one to donate to a child in need.  For adults, with each new article of clothing that enters your closet, remove an old one and donate it.
  3.       Let the seasons be your reminder:  each season clean out your closet and drawers and remove items by asking yourself the following questions:

a.      Does this item still fit?

b.      Have I worn this item in the last 12 months?

c.      If I went shopping NOW would I buy this item again?

If you answer NO to any of those… say see you later!




How to Handle Difficult Conversations as a Caregiver

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

My grandmother always used to say “once an adult, twice a child”.  She was referring to the fact that we start life dependent, and through the aging process, tend to end our life that way as well.

So, what happens when the grown-up “child” needs to become the caregiving adult in a relationship with an aging parent?  It leads to many tough conversations about some pretty big topics.  Recognizing that some conversations are not only difficult, but could cause relationship-changing outcomes, we created this video to give some pointers for handling the big ticket items adult children might encounter with their aging parents.



O-Tip of the Week: Stay Organized with a ‘Command Center’

Our O-Tip of the week series we will be providing valuable “OT-Approved Life Hacks” to provide you with simple and helpful solutions for living. 

Often the focus of occupational therapy becomes helping people to organize their activities, their stuff or their time.  So, for the month of April our series will be all about organization.

To get your family working together like a well-oiled machine create a “command center.”  Family command center must haves include:

–        A calendar (be sure to write each member’s items in a different colour)

–        Storage for each member’s paperwork / important items

–        A dry erase or chalkboard for leaving messages and reminders for each other

For more ideas on what to include in your command center, and design inspiration check out Good Housekeeping:  Command Center Ideas.



Living with Cancer: OT Can Help

Cancer and cancer treatment can lead to changes in how we do our daily activities due to physical, cognitive or emotional changes resulting from the diagnosis, resulting surgery, medications, chemo and radiation. For a cancer patient sometimes just doing daily activities leaves little energy for leisure, social, or work-related tasks.  Common side effects of cancer or its treatment include fatigue, pain, weakness, cognitive difficulties, anxiety or depression, and changes in self-esteem or self-image. Each person diagnosed with cancer will experience different challenges in his or her participation in various daily activities and life roles over the course of the disease.

Occupational therapists have knowledge and expertise to allow individuals with cancer to do the things they want and need to do to maintain their level of independence and quality of life. Occupational therapy services are helpful for individuals throughout the continuum of cancer care, including those who are newly diagnosed, undergoing treatment, receiving hospice or palliative care, or who are survivors reintegrating into previous roles. Caregivers also benefit from the training and education provided by OT’s as this arms them with the essential tools to offer support and assistance to their loved ones when performing daily, important, and meaningful activities.

Take a look at the following infographic to learn more about how Occupational Therapists can help:

Previously posted April 2017.


Can you “Catch” Stress Like you Catch a Cold?

The short answer… yes!  Science has proven that stress is contagious and that basically, being around people who are stressed can change your brain in the same way.  Learn the details of this incredibly interesting study in the following care of The National Post.

The National Post:  Your stress can actually change your partner’s brain, study suggests

Learn more about the effects of stress and ways to manage it from our popular post, How Stress is Affecting Your Health.